Tony Abbott is set to announce his new frontbench this morning.
All the reports suggest that the winners are the hard Right – including the resurrection of Howard era waxworks Bronwyn Bishop and Kevin Andrews, and the astonishing selection of Eric Abetz as industrial relations shadow.
Climate change denialist Nick Minchin is tipped to get Energy, and Cory Bernardi and Sophie Mirabella will receive their rewards.
Barnaby Joyce comes out of the cold, with a senior position – probably Finance.
No doubt all this will be talked up as providing a clear point of differentiation with the government. There are a few moderates remaining to put a gloss on it – but essentially what we will see is something even more right wing than the Howard Cabinet. That should go down well.
Update: The full list can be found here.
Bernard Keane in Crikey:
The Opposition has taken a dramatic lurch to the right with the announcement of one of the most conservative frontbenches since the 1980s battles between Liberal moderates and conservatives.
Right-wingers Kevin Andrews, Bronwyn Bishop, Cory Bernardi, Barnaby Joyce, Sophie Mirabella, Connie Fierravanti-Wells and Philip Ruddock have been promoted, making the new coalition line-up the most socially conservative in a generation. Eric Abetz has also been promoted into the key industrial relations portfolio, a clear sign that labour market deregulation is now back on the agenda for the Opposition.
At his first press conference as leader, Abbott promised all shades of opinion would be represented on his frontbench. They are, but it is dominated by denialists and right-wingers, and simply doesn’t look competitive with the government.
Update: Still Life With Cat.
Update: Richard Farmer:
The sooner we get the next election over with the better. The prospect of an Opposition “focused on criticising the Government rather than speculating about ourselves” is just too horrible to contemplate.
We are going to have the last election campaign all over again with the exception of a Coalition this time opposed to emissions trading rather than in favour.